Ideas for a DIY Slatted Wood Wall?

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Q- My wife and I are renovating our condo and as part of the construction there is a 7' high wall that creates our new entry foyer. Since this new wall doesn't go all the way to the ceiling and is the first thing you will see when entering our home - I'd like the wall to have more character and be more inviting than Sheetrock. The condo itself is a renovated carpet mill built in 1890, so exposed brick walls and a deep space (i.e. no natural light in the kitchen & foyer). My style is modern, so I've thought about a slat wood wall - 1"x1" wood slats laid horizontally w/ 1/8" reveals between.....

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...but this will be fairly expensive (about $900 just for oak) and a lot of work. I've also thought about plywood, but I'm not sold on that idea. What else could I do? Or how could I do the slats w/ out making this a month long project?

I've attached the best pictures I can find online of slatted wood walls, but I can't find exactly what I'm thinking of.

Thanks for your help!

Please share any suggestions or ideas with Richard in the comments below...

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.